Q: When will the 2020 Observership Program applications open?

A: Sydney Program applications open 1 July 2019 and Melbourne Program applications open 22 July 2019.

For additional details on The Observership Program, please review our FAQs or email Belinda Da Silva on [email protected]


Q: What are the Key Dates for the 2020 Observership Programs?

A: Applications Open - 1 July 2019 (Sydney Program)   |    22 July 2019 (Melbourne Program)

Applications Close - 28 July 2019 (Sydney Program)   |   18 August 2019 (Melbourne Program)

Matching and Board Interview Process - September - November 2019 (Sydney and Melbourne Program) 

2020 Observership Placement Confirmed - 6 December 2019 (Sydney Program)   |   4 December 2019 (Melbourne Program)

2020 Observership Program Launch Event - 12 February 2020 (Sydney Program)   |   4 February 2020 (Melbourne Program)

Training Session: Duties and Responsibilities - 19 February 2020 (Sydney Program)   |    13 February 2020 (Melbourne Program) 

Training Session: Finance for NFP Directors - 4 March 2020 (Sydney Program)   |    27 February 2020 (Melbourne Program)

Training Session: Strategy for NFP Directors - 18 March 2020 (Sydney Program)   |    12 March 2020 (Melbourne Program)

Training Session: Risk for NFP Directors - 1 April 2020 (Sydney Program)   |           26 March 2020 (Melbourne Program)

Training Session: Ethics in Governance - 6 May 2020 (Sydney Program)   |            30 April 2020 (Melbourne Program)

End of Year Networking Event - 25 November 2020 (Sydney Program)   |            26 November 2020 (Melbourne Program)

Attendance at training sessions* is mandatory for Observers.

* Additional training and networking events may be organised throughout the year.

Application Form

Q: What should I include in my CV?

A: You are not applying for a job. Your application is assessed by board members based on who you are as well as what you do, so your CV needs to provide the broadest possible picture of who you are.

  • Your interest in the NFP sector is a key factor in a board’s choice of candidate;
  • Express your values, interests, background and perspective, plus illustrate a genuine and proven interest in making a difference;
  • Try to give equal weight to your personal values as to your professional skills and experience;
  • Your CV should be no longer than 3 pages.

Applications and Selection Process

Q: How much does The Observership Program cost?

A: For a general candidate (not a Corporate Partner candidate) the cost is a $50 non-refundable administration fee. If you are selected to be an Observer all that is required is a committment of time for board meetings and training session attendance. 

Q: Does the Program welcome applications from all sections of community?

A: Yes. The Observership Program is committed to diversity. We are looking for high level candidates with a passion for the NFP sector, from all sections of the community.

Q: If I apply and identify as an applicant with a disability, will that impact negatively on my application?

A: The Program actively encourages applicants with a disability to apply. Please contact Belinda Da Silva ([email protected]) - if you would like to discuss your situation.

Q: If I have completed the Program before, can I do it again?

A: Unfortunately not. In an effort to encourage and develop a wide range of young professionals, the Program can only be completed once per person. If you would like to be referred to a not-for-profit organisation that is seeking new board candidates please contact us on [email protected]

Q: Do I get a say in what Board I’m matched with?

A: To a limited extent. The matching process is driven by board preferences for the skills they are looking for in an Observer. Past Observers report getting more value from their Observership experience where their skills can be applied for the benefit of the organisation with which they are matched. Nothwithstanding this process, each Observer is given an opportunity to indicate his/her cause preferences and we do our best to take areas of personal interest into account.

Q: Who is Eligible to Apply for the Program?

A: Applicants must be aged between 25 and 40 on the application closing date. Applicants must be resident in the state in which the Program operates and be either an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Q: What makes for a successful Observership experience?

A: Contribution is key, while respecting the culture of the Board and gauging when it is appropriate to contribute. Exercising sound judgement about the level and nature of your involvement at board meetings is important, as is joining a board subcommittee or getting involved in a strategic project if possible. Observers get the most value from their experience when they attend all board meetings and training sessions and get involved with a board project.